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Governor's words say much about schools

Friday, December 2, 2016 - 11:00

From Peter Shreeve, branch secretary Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Carisbrooke:
The headline "Schools at breaking point" (CP, 25-11-16) caught my attention.

Most of those who work in education are well aware of the challenging circumstances which have been an everyday occurrence for several years.
Indeed, I wrote to MP Andrew Turner in June of last year stating many schools were being forced to worsen their provision, before meeting with him twice to express concern over the cutting of considerable numbers of support staff roles the previous year, the potential for further cuts and the unprecedented increase in child poverty — a continued increase until 2020 as projected in the then latest 2014 Institute of Fiscal Studies Report.
Eighteen months later, we are in the same position.
Nine in ten schools already face a real-terms cut in funding for every pupil and school budgets are already on a knife-edge.
If the government doesn’t increase overall funding for schools, they can’t recruit enough trained teachers.
Class sizes will rise and schools will reluctantly have to cut subject choices and resources. Schools will struggle to keep their buildings safely maintained. Those of us who work in education know this is happening now.
As the local authority now runs fewer schools, it is almost impossible to gain accurate Island figures on many education issues.
To give one example, we are acutely aware it is difficult to appoint suitable staff to many positions, ranging from subject practitioners to senior managers, either due to a lack of applicants or a lack of quality applicants.
Increasingly, this means students being taught by cover teachers, cover supervisors or non-specialist staff. But no-one is willing to admit it and the government seems unwilling to acknowledge the situation.
We must therefore congratulate school governor Mr Finch on his willingness to speak out publicly about the continued lack of funding, which is doing untold damage.
The fragmented education system, where schools compete rather than collaborate, means it is difficult for individuals to speak without drawing attention to their schools.

 


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